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Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Partners With DNR To Restore Local Lake

December 28, 2017
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

Silver Lake is located in western Palo Alto County three miles from Ayrshire and is open to fishing, picnicking, and boating with new development along the southwest side.

Sitting in the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Priority Area, Silver Lake is a shallow glacial lake that formed as the Wisconsin glacier began to retreat from the area. While the lake itself is a Sovereign Lake, owned by the State of Iowa since its founding in 1846, public conservation of shoreline has become a priority in recent years.

In late 2016, the Iowa National Heritage Foundation (INHF) purchased 185 acres of land adjacent to Silver Lake which consists of wetlands, meadow and prairie broken into pieces by small fields. This 185 acres catches and filters nearly 30 % of all water flowing into the lake.

"A major portion of the water flowing into Silver Lake flows through this property, so from a water quality standpoint, restoring this area allows for natural filtering of the water that feeds into the lake," said Heather Jobst, INHF's senior land conservation director.

In 2017, the Iowa DNR decided to take action. Partnering with the INHF, the 185 acres on the west side of Silver Lake will undergo an extensive restoration program over the next five years. There are already eight established wetlands two will be preserved and six will undergo renovation. Two other wetland depressions that are now dry will be restored.

In the eight wetland areas, plant species such as blue flag iris and monkey flower will be protected. In the prairie areas, silver leaf scurf pea and porcupine grass are among the vegetation that will benefit from reconstruction. While the land is currently broken by small fields, restoration will create a contiguous piece of land more beneficial to sustaining the property, the ecosystem and recreation it supports.

By protecting this sovereign lake, the INHF and the Iowa DNR is ensuring that the areas legacy as a valuable are for animals. Plants and human visitors will remain intact. The INHF is planning to transfer the property to the Iowa DNR for management within a year.



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